The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that it is the pious responsibility of everyone to take care of widows.Addressing the gathering on the occasion of International Widows' Day, here today, he said that ‘we as a society need to reflect on the social attitudes towards widows and how the stigma, humiliation and isolation attached to widowhood can be overcome’.The Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.The Vice President said that it is a matter of concern that widows are looked down upon and at times meted out unjust treatment even in the present digital era. A powerful social movement is required to change the mindset of people towards widows, he added.The Vice President said that indigent widows need to be empowered financially by providing loans to be self-employed.
Preference should be given to widows while extending Mudra loans, he added.The Vice President stressed on the need to create livelihood opportunities through vocational training programmes in various areas, including tailoring, garment making and packaging for widows. He further said that States like Haryana and Rajasthan are giving preference to widows seeking government jobs through competitive examinations. This should be emulated by other States too, he added.Highlighting the need to empower widows, the Vice President said that providing livelihood skills and education for their children is at most important. He further said that under the social welfare schemes like housing and land distribution, entitlements need to be given in the name of women and preference should be meted to widows. Such measures will help in empowering them, he added.The Vice President said that the concept of New India encompasses economically emancipated women and if that vision is realized, many of the social ills like atrocities on women and neglect of widows can become a thing of the past.